Using music to spread a 'culture of tolerance'

The Assalamalekoum Festival begins in Nouakchott

GMT 09:40 2013 Friday ,21 June

Arab Today, arab today The Assalamalekoum Festival begins in Nouakchott

Hip hop artists will take the stage at the Assalamalekoum Festival
Nouakchott - Mohamed Chyna

Hip hop artists will take the stage at the Assalamalekoum Festival The hip hop based Assalamalekoum Festival started Thursday in Nouakchott as an annual reminder about the dangers of terrorism and extremism, festival director Limam Kane said. “The Assalamalekoum Festival mobilises people against clandestine immigration, putting an end to religious and ethnic conflicts and encouraging settlement in the countryside,” Kane added.
The week-long festival that begins June 20 includes Hip-hop artists, rappers and music bands from Niger, Senegal, France and other countries, which are set to perform in Nouakchott at the annual Assalamalekoum Festival.
"Islam is love, compassion and unity, and thus a way of life," Kane said. "Anyone who wages attacks on people in the name of Islam is a terrorist. We must use every means to present the true Islam to people, removed from extremism and fanaticism. Unfortunately, among some, Mauritania's name has been linked recently to suicide bombings and the killing of French tourists, and we in no way want this link or this image to continue because it is offensive to the country's history."
He added that the festival aimed to "spread a culture of tolerance among the various Mauritanian ethnic groups, because art in general is a message of peace among human beings".
"I want to sow closeness among peoples and brotherhood among everyone, and I want everyone to live in peace. I thus chose to name the festival 'Assalamalekoum', and my goal is to defend the homeland and offer a good image of Mauritania," Kane said.
Kane asserted that he loved his country and was keen "to inform people about the nature of Mauritanians so far as their love for people and respect for others and their traditions".
“Hip hop artists such as Morocco’s hip hop star Soultana, Tunisia’s Medisa, France’s Sniper band, and Senegal’s rap star Bogostyle, will take part this year’s round of Assalamalekoum Festival and associated activities,” journalist Babakr Enjai said.
Enjai, who is charge of the festival’s media relations, praised the event’s role in discovering young hip hop artists.
“More opportunities must be provided to have young people discover their potential rather than use them in negative fields, such as violence and deviation,” he said.
In the past years, according to Enjai, festival organisers promoted a discourse that “helped raise awareness among thousands of young people about the dangers of extremism and terrorism”.

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